WordCamp Europe 2014 notes - 2.5: Matt Mullenweg Q&A

I’m at WordCamp Europe in Sofia - taking rough notes on some of the talks

Matt Mullenweg, Om Malik http://2014.europe.wordcamp.org/session/matt-mullenweg/

Matt Mullenweg in conversation with Om Malik

In conversation with Om Malik:

  • Biggest learning in the last 11 years?
    • The community makes it what it is - not the feature set. Lots of other software checks the same boxes that WordPress checks, but it doesn’t have what we have in this room
  • For-profits have a limit in their vision. Non-profits have difficulty making connections with enough/the right people. Working together they can achieve more.
  • “I’d rather put things into the world under moral licences than immoral ones” - GPL is the “Most moral licence” that you can put software out under
  • “I’d be skeptical of an open source company that kept everyone in the same office” - that’s missing part of the benefit: Open source works when people are all around the world.
  • How do we structure WP so that it can adapt to what the trends are over the coming years?
    • more and more access is on closed proprietary devices (iphones etc.)
    • Wp wasn’t designed with touch interaction in mind. WP apps haven’t had a ton of community involvement

Photo of Matt Mullenweg Q&A by @Joan_Artes on twitter

Photo by @Joan_Artes


  • What are your thoughts about entrepreneurship in Europe, particularly eastern europe?
    • @om - Local laws in Europe favour local investors over international investors: a challenge for entrepreneurship
    • “The best thing European companies can do is to stop comparing themselves to American companies”
  • CFTP Wheatley: “You’ve scaled up 1800 people - what do those people actually do”
    • Lots on support
    • Design and development: allows us to contribute much much more to WP Core
    • “I want to scale that as far as it can go”
    • Wants it to be an exemplar of a mixed nonprofit/for profit: prove to the world that it Can be done.
  • Once we have APIs it will enable a whole new class of application - e.g. front-ends which talk to something which isn’t WP but implements the WP API.
    • A Cambrian explosion for WordPress - comparable to when plugins were introduced
  • “We’ve found the search in WP isn’t very good”
    • “No it’s terrible”
    • If you’re serious about search you should use a plugin that indexes your content in lucene or elasticsearch
  • No plans now or in the future to have paid plugins - or a paid app store.
    • Could make things more discoverable: look at what you’ve got installed and suggest things you might find useful
  • This year there were more non-english downloads than english downloads
    • More translations will be the biggest driver of increases in WP usage
  • How much should WP businesses be contributing to the WP community?
    • Maybe 5%, so if you have 100 employees, 5 of them could be contributing to core.
  • Can we get rid of Backwards compatibility
    • I don’t buy that we should break backwards compatibility for architectural purity. More inclined to do it for reasons that will mean more people use WP
  • Lots of plugins aren’t maintained - some maintainers may even have died. Can we get these just removed from the directory?
    • Plugins over 2 years old will stop showing up in search results
    • Plugin search is going to be optimised towards putting the most popular, best supported ones at the top.
    • Factor in the compatibility between plugins - plugins which work well together
    • Plugins are the most open area for innovation - it’s an open market